Skinimalism, emo beauty and aromatherapy
With so many new products and new active ingredients being constantly marketed, there is a temptation to think that ‘more is more’ when it comes to skincare – that the more products we apply the better our skin will look. However, just as living life to the excess can be bad for us, using excessive amounts of skincare products can be bad for our complexion too. Enter the concept: skinimalism – the less is more approach that is trending in 2021.
What is skinimalism?
Skinimalism is described as the stripping back of our skincare (and make-up) routines in favour of a more minimalist approach. This means ditching the overly complicated, multi-step routines (e.g. 10-step Korean routine) and reducing the number of products and ingredients that we put on our skin. This will not only be better for our skin but is also better for the environment (reduced waste and carbon footprint) not to mention our bank balance. Win win!
Why more isn’t more
According to dermatologists the more products and ingredients we use on our skin, the greater the risk of irritation. Overloading and confusing our skin with lots of different products and ingredients (and sometimes doubling up on ingredients) can compromise the skin barrier and unbalance the skin’s natural mildly acidic pH. This can lead to problems such as dry skin, sensitivity, redness, irritation and even breakouts. A particular concern is the use of single active products (e.g. salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, retinol, AHAs, vitamin C) which are used in high concentration and potentially being combined with other ingredients in other products that simply do not work together.
So, while skincare brands have enjoyed record sales during lockdown as we’ve all turned to DIY beauty, many people are now unfortunately suffering from skin issues which have been caused by the products they’ve been putting on their skin.
Minimising your skincare routine
Our skin is a wonderful thing and has its own in-built mechanisms to cleanse, exfoliate, moisturise and heal itself. It doesn’t actually need or want a plethora of products to keep it in great condition.
So, how can we take things back to basics and incorporate more skin-kind, multi-tasking products that will allow our natural beauty to shine through.
When you look at all the expert on advice minimalistic skincare the most important things to include in your daily routine are:
- Serum (optional)
Cleansing is the first step in any skincare routine and is important for removing dirt, excess oil, pollution and dead skin cells which can accumulate and contribute to breakouts, dehydration and ageing. It’s worth noting that cleansers aren’t really going to ‘change’ your skin, so you don’t need to spend a fortune on fancy products. Just avoid products that contain sulfates which can strip your skin of much needed moisture and leave it feeling dry and tight. Your skin needs to feel clean but not ‘squeaky clean’. It’s not essential to have different cleansers for morning and night, although your skin will need more of cleanse in the evening to remove the day’s grime.
Hot cloth cleansing with an oil-based cleanser is particularly good at night. This involves massaging an oil or balm into the skin and using a hot, damp cloth to remove.
Carrier oils such as Coconut oil or Jojoba are idea for oil cleansing – but you really can use any carrier oil that suits your skin. 100% natural and sulfate-free, these oils are perfect for deep, skin-kind cleansing that won’t compromise the skin’s barrier. The hot cloth will help to soften the skin and open the pores. and the act of removing the oil with the cloth will help to gently exfoliate and boost blood flow for a natural rosy glow.
- Apply your oil or balm and massage into the skin for a few seconds to break up dirt and makeup.
- Add a few drops of warm water and massage in to emulsify the oil. This will make it a little easier to remove.
- Soak a clean, soft cloth (muslin is ideal or a flannel) in hot water (as warm as you find comfortable).
- Drape it over the face and hold in place for a few seconds to lightly steam the skin.
- Use the cloth to gently wipe away the oil.
- Rinse the cloth and repeat up to four times until your skin is clean.
At this stage you can apply a gentle, alcohol-free toner if you wish, however it really isn’t necessary especially if you’re trying to minimise the number of products you’re using.
Note: if you have oily or blemished skin or any redness or irritation then you could try our Rose Otto Hydrolat. This 100% natural toner has soothing, calming, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties and is roughly the same pH as the skin. It can help to hydrate the skin, re-balance the acid mantle, reduce redness and irritation and heal breakouts.
In the spirit of multi-tasking, it can also be used as a morning cleanser (when your skin is already pretty clean) and a hydrating facial spritz throughout the day.
A serum is an optional step that you can include to target specific skincare concerns, like wrinkles or blemishes. Traditional serums are water-based and should be applied after cleansing but before a moisturiser. They are made up of very small molecules that penetrate deep into the skin to deliver high concentrations of active ingredients (e.g. vitamins, antioxidants). They are super-potent, and as we’ve discussed above, they can cause irritation if used in excess.
Note: Some facial oils are also marketed as serums. These should be applied after a moisturiser as they have a bigger molecular structure and are intended to seal in your moisturiser and add an extra layer of nourishment.
Alongside cleansing, moisturising is another essential part of your skincare regime to keep your skin hydrated, supple and younger looking. Dry and dehydrated skin can lead to tightness, irritation and premature ageing. It’s important to choose a moisturiser that is suited to your skin, but don’t be drawn into thinking that you need different products for different parts of your face or for different times of day. All skin shares the same needs, and a good, well-made formula can do it all!
The most effective moisturiser is actually the skin’s own built-in moisturiser – sebum. If you’re looking for a simple, natural product to nourish your skin, look no further than Jojoba. Jojoba is rich in antioxidant vitamin E, skin-healing B vitamins and essential fatty acids. It is an almost identical chemical match (97%) to sebum, so your skin will welcome it with open arms. It’s a great multi-tasker too, as it can also be used for oil cleansing and for conditioning your hair!!!
Tip: Always apply your moisturiser or facial oil to damp skin as this will help lock in extra moisture.
Your skin needs SPF protection everyday not just in summer. This will help protect it from damaging UV rays that cause visible signs of ageing such as wrinkles, dullness, loss of firmness and pigmentation.
To help cut down on the number of products in your routine, you can use a moisturiser that includes a broad-spectrum high factor SPF. For the best protection, experts recommend an SPF of 30 or above. You can also use make-up that includes SPF, but it is best not to rely on this as your sole form of protection as it isn’t applied regularly or liberally enough to offer full protection.
Switching to natural skincare
If your normal skincare routine has got overcomplicated, isn’t achieving the results you’d like, or is causing undesirable effects, it could also be time to ditch the harsh chemicals and give your skin a break.
Going green and switching to natural beauty products can be much kinder on your skin, as well as the environment. Anything we put on our skin is absorbed into our bodies, so making a conscious decision to use healthier products can only lead to healthier more balanced skin.
If you decide to make the switch, make sure you give your skin time to adjust to the ‘au naturel’ approach. Some people find the transition a little rocky and give up, claiming the products don’t work as well as their chemical equivalents, or that they cause breakouts. If breakouts do occur, it’s not normally down to the product itself, but is a sign that your skin is ridding itself of toxins. It can take approximately 10 days for your skin to adjust (sometimes more or even less), but if you stick with it your skin will be cleaner and revitalised in the long term.
As well as minimalism and more conscious consumption, Emo (emotional) beauty is another emerging trend - and they all kind of go hand in hand.
Covid has forced us all to slow down and invest in DIY beauty and self-care, seeking out products that not only nurture our skin, but at the same time boost our wellbeing, elevate our mood, and help bring a sense of calm amidst all the chaos.
These products are being labelled as ‘moodivators’ and what could possibly be more appropriate here than natural beauty products that contain mood AND complexion boosting essential oils.
Think Lavender and Chamomile essential oils for soothing our skin AND relieving stress. Geranium for balancing our skin's natural oil AND our emotions. Or Lemon for reviving a dull complexion AND revitalising our minds. For more insight read our blog on aromatherapy for beauty and healing.
So, to conclude, let's ditch the slather-fest, 'clean-up’ our beauty regimes and embrace these new exciting, sustainable trends that will truly benefit not just our complexion but our health, wellbeing and the environment too.